As the nation suffers from the ravages of the super-contagious COVID-19 Delta variant, the federal government desperately wants all American workers and their families to get vaccinated.
If you have employees, you probably feel the same way. Indeed, more and more employers are implementing vaccine mandates—a trend that will likely grow after the FDA gives final approval to the COVID-19 vaccines.
COVID-19 vaccine mandates are highly controversial.
One thing that’s not controversial is giving your employees paid time off to get vaccinated and to deal with the possible side effects of vaccination (usually, short-lived flu-like symptoms). The federal government does not require that employers provide such paid time off, but it strongly encourages them to do so. And it’s putting its money where its mouth is, by providing fairly generous tax credits to repay employers for the lost employee work time.
You can also collect these credits if your employees take time off to help family and household members get the vaccination and/or recover from its side effects. There’s only one thing better than having an employee vaccinated: having an employee’s entire family vaccinated.
How big are the credits?
- Employers who give employees paid time off to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and/or recover from the vaccination can collect a sick leave credit of up to $511 per day for 10 days, plus a family leave credit of up to $200 per day for 60 additional days.
- Employers who give employees paid time off to help household members get vaccinated and/or recover from the vaccination can get a sick leave credit for 10 days and family leave credit for 60 days, both capped at $200 per day.
What if you are self-employed and have no employees? You haven’t been left out. Similar tax credits are available to self-employed individuals who take time off from work to get vaccinated or who help family or household members do so.
But you must act soon. These sick leave and family leave credits are available only through September 30, 2021.
One more thing: these are refundable tax credits. This means you collect the full amount even if it exceeds your tax liability. Employers can reduce their third-quarter 2021 payroll tax deposits in the amount of their credits. If the credit exceeds these deposits, employers can get paid the difference in advance by filing IRS Form 7200, Advance Payment of Employer Credits Due to COVID-19.
The documentation requirements for these credits are modest, and you’ll have to file a couple of new forms with your 2021 tax return.